With Rwanda progressing on the path to migrate completely from analogue towards digitalization of the Media industry, the role of the private sector in fostering the process is immense. Towards contributing to the migration processes, subscription TV company Startimes, Star Africa Media continues to distinguish itself as a leader in enabling Rwandans afford access in the new technology.
The Chinese Information and Communication Technology based company has been at the top of penetrating digital products into Rwanda’s market, a task it has held strongly for the last five years. Against the backdrop, Startimes has in the past rolled out massive campaigns including among others promotion of Television sets and digital converters (decoders) all to the effect of increasing TV penetration in Rwanda and facilitating the process of digital migration. In the last half decade of operation, Startimes has broken ground to introduce TV signals in areas that had never enjoyed the broadcast technology before.
Signals now improved and bouquets redesigned to improve enjoyment.
At some point in 2013 and earlier in 2014, Startimes’ signals suffered challenges as a result of interferences from other signals especially during the evening hours and later from local TV interferences. According to the Startime’s CEO, Hans Huo, all the above is now history. “We have installed a new system at our Headquarters office opposite the ministry of Justice which receives signals from the satellite. From here, the signal is then transferred through microwaves directly to the Jali transmission center thus bypassing the interferences.
In the local case, we worked together with RURA and RBA to solve the challenges,” he said. The Startimes boss assured their customers that, “the lack of signals will not happen again. It has been fully dealt with.” Also to further digital migration, Rwanda’s captain in the industry introduced free to air decoders on which a customer benefit from six free channels offered by Rwanda’s national broadcaster. The free to air decoders were selling at only Rwf39, 000. With the decoder, a customer is free to either subscribe or enjoy variety or to continue watching the free six channels.
Besides the free to air decoders which were introduced on the market, Startimes further revised its subscription channel bouquets. The process emanated into slashing the most expensive package from Rwf20,000 to 13,000 while at the same time allowing customers more channels to watch. The available channels on Startimes’ signals increased from 54 (for which customers used to pay Rwf20,000) to a stunning 72 channels that cost only 13,000. For the lowest and medium packages, the prices rose slightly from Rwf3,500 and 65,00 to 4,000 and 8000 respectively. But even as the prices increased, the benefit was more to the customer’s side since the channels available on each package increased, from 20 to 28 and 30 to 54 channels respectively. “This allows customer especially those subscribing to the lowest package more variety and greater enjoyment,” Hussein Kamanzi, the Marketing Executive at Startimes said.
Improving customer satisfaction taken a step above ordinary
Now that the digital image continues to spread across Rwanda, Startimes is resting greater emphasis on improving after sale services to make sure that its customers are satisfied. The subscription TV company has since the recent past taken steps to beef up its after sales team with new staff being recruited while equally creating a follow up system that ensures every customer’s need is recorded and responded to. In respect to creating strong channels, Kamanzi noted that numerous help lines have been introduced. The promise is that every received compliant is attended to in a period less than 48hours.
To call directly, a customer can reach to 5033 or call 0788156600. In case of failure to access the help lines, one can send a short message by typing Star and then the problem and sending to 5000. An example of the message would be, “Star I’m Emmenual, the customer of startimes, my smart no is 01889381234. I need technician to help me fix my antenna. I have time this weekend.” Provided a customer is dissatisfied or unattended to in the 48hours, Kamanzi advised that they can send text messages to 0788437971 or 0783462988 to report and guaranteed that response here is immediate.
The later line connects directly to the company’s CEO. In case of technical difficulty, Startimes’ customers are entitled to free support. “For decoders, the moment it develops complication we immediately replace it with an operational one freely.” To further enjoyment, a “Startimes Week” is slated to commence on March 9thwhere all customers will enjoy 7days of free TV to enjoy more than 10 channels. Currently, Startimes’ signal can be accessed in about 90 percent of Rwanda boasting presence in all the major cities and towns of the country.